Abu Qatada’s family said on Monday they expected to have him home within days and expressed their hopes court proceedings against the controversial cleric would progress smoothly so he could soon return to normal life. Close friends claimed the decade-long fight to deport Qatada from Britain is unlikely to end in a jail term, and said in their opinion he would almost certainly be cleared by the Jordanian courts.
His was twice convicted in absentia for conspiring to engage in terrorist activities in Jordan, and courts there sentenced him to life imprisonment. The same charges were repeated at the State Security Court on Sunday, where Qatada denied all allegations. His co-conspirators were sentenced and later pardoned by the king. It is this precedent which makes Abu Hanieh optimistic his friend will be freed. The exclusion of evidence obtained under torture, the prerequisite for Qatada’s return to Jordan, is another reason. “It’s usual to get evidence by torture here,” said Abu Hanieh, who has been imprisoned many times.